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Sex Work

On the lies we tell young men about sex

 Whisper Male Virgin

Whisper Male Virgin

I was interviewed by Fusion for an article on the toxic cultural forces that tell guys to lose their virginity as soon as possible–and to feel like utter losers if they don't. It's based on the male virgin section of a secret-sharing site called Whisper, which is cool on one hand because it allows these guys (gay, straight and bi) to be honest about their feelings about wanting sex or not, but also feels a little like a sex work matchmaking service for  losing it.

I spoke to the reporter about the lack of honest conversation about sexuality, the dearth of actual sex ed and the huge vacuum this leaves for young people just when they're trying to make sense of their sexual feelings. When the vacuum gets filled with sexist, judgmental and usually inaccurate pop culture, porn and abstinence-until-marriage classes about what 'real men' are supposed to be like, it's no wonder 17-year-old guys think life is over because they haven't yet had intercourse. I've said this before, and I said it in the article: I believe that becoming sexual is a long and gradual process. It's not some race to the finish line where the money-shot is the end goal.

The same day I was interviewed, I saw this quote from Cory Silverberg at About:Sexuality, with a collection of articles on delayed ejaculation and erectile disfunction in young men:

"The stories we tell each other and ourselves about men and sex are all pretty bleak.  They want sex all the time but never want to talk about it. They are ready any moment but are sexually callous.  They are fundamentally aggressive.  On and on it goes, and it's no wonder that men are so messed up about sex when you think about the options presented to them.  And what do they do when the problem they are having doesn't fit neatly into the options they have?"

A lack of understanding about sexuality doesn't just harm the guys themselves, it also affects their partners. Here's a disturbing study from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine about young men's attitudes towards having anal sex with female partners. While some women participated enthusiastically in receiving anal sex, the majority felt coerced:

"The researchers found that many young women who did engage in anal sex found the experiences painful and full of pressure. They seemed to occur in sexual climate in which the concept of mutuality wasn’t highlighted enough amongst teenagers, for reasons that ranged from a lack of open dialogue and education to young men attempting to mimic what they see in porn."

Ah, mutuality...Guys receiving anal sex from their female partners. What a concept!

Guys, what do you think? Where are you getting your messages about sex and how to 'be a man.' What can we do to change the conversation about sexuality and masculinity?

V-Card Diaries: Cherry-Jill "I asked my ObGyn to break my hymen for me so I would technically not be a virgin."

Today we're highlighting 36-year-old Cherry-Jill in Capetown, South Africa who whose experienced kissing, dry humping, and sexting, but nothing else. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. A little about myself:

I'm a 36-year-old bi caucasian female from Cape Town, South Africa, and I'm a self-employed Graphic Designer.

How I define virginity:

I define it by having sex - but not necessarily with the opposite sex. I have had no sexual experiences other than kissing, 'dry-humping' and sexting (in my youth mainly).

Here's my story:

Due to various emotional baggage, namely my father having an affair when I was 18 and my parents' divorce, I find myself still a virgin at 36. I'm attractive and have had a lot of interest over the years, but now it has become an issue... and the longer I leave it the worse it gets.

I have considered losing my virginity with another woman, as it may be gentler and somehow easier, less risk of getting hurt?

I have considered hiring a male escort just to get it done, or breaking my hymen myself with a vibrator - to technically not be a virgin. I even asked my OBGYN to do it, she said no.

I wouldn't want my partner to know I was a virgin. Commitment scares me, but rejection even more so. I'd like my first time not to happen in my first serious relationship - too much pressure and risk of getting hurt.

V-Card Diaries: Too Busy to Worry "Because I have a poor body image, I seriously consider getting an escort."

Today we're highlighting Too Busy to Worry in Tampa, FL, who is looking for someone she'll be comfortable being naked around. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. A little about myself:

I am 27 years old, female, cis-gender, though I do lean towards being a tomboy and having very masculine traits. I live in Tampa, FL and have recently gone back to school by enrolling in the University of South Florida.

How I define virginity:

That a person hasn't had sex. That's a personal definition and I can't truly give a detailed definition of it.

Here's my story:

I am still a virgin for many reasons. I am no longer looking for Mr. Right but I would like to be with someone who I'm comfortable to be naked around. But that won't matter much because I have a poor body image so I seriously consider getting an escort. But then I think to myself, well, I could probably find a one-night stand just to get it over with, but then the body image thing pops up and the cycle starts again. Not to mention that I am so busy with school at the moment that losing my virginity is not high on my priority list. Not to mention that my friends don't bug me about it or when people do it just makes me dig my heals in more.

Just The Tip: Virginity in the News with Broad City's Ilana Glazer, Purity creepiness, virginty auctioner revealed, sex myths, and campus rape stats

I've been asking people about this very thing for so many years now, and I've seen a lot of other people try it with mixed results. It's tough to get strangers to talk honestly about sex on camera, but Ilana is really sweet and funny and some of the stories are really touching. I shouldn't have been surprised given her other work, most lately Broad City, the show she created with Abbi Jacobson. It started as a web series about two young and underemployed women in NYC, and was picked up by Comedy Central, with Amy Poehler Exec Producing! If you haven't sampled it yet, do it now.

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There's a photo series all over the internet right now by Swedish photographer David Magnusson called Purity. Everyone is freaking out about how creepy they are. So, yes, purity ball photos can sometimes look incestuous, but know why they're really creepy? They represent a culture where men own these girls' sexuality, purity balls fund CPCs, and their freak-show quality distracts us from all the sexuality bs happening in the rest of the world. Yes, I'm writing about it, so stay tuned.

PS Judy actually spotted this project last year and loved it so much she used it as part of her story "How I went from Purity Pledger to Queer Radical Feminist, thanks to two years of ‘Cotillion’ Classes." Above is the image we used (our favorite) which for some reason they're not including in the galleries online.

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Juliana at Feministing wrote a lovely piece on our film and we especially loved the fact that she watched it with her little sis! Here are two excerpts that meant a lot to us, because they spoke to our goals for the film:

I have a little sister and, like any good feminist, I spend a lot of time making sure that she knows that her worth extends beyond her beauty, her body, and her sexuality. As she is still a teenager, a big topic in her life and that of her peers lately has been virginity. Personally, I don’t think that my sexuality or “virginity” is an object to lose, or give away, and I don’t want her to think that either. That’s why I was so excited to watch How to Lose Your Virginity with her...

..In spite of the fascinating and telling historical context, the true triumph of How to Lose Your Virginity is in how relatable it is. The first time I had sex, I was surprised at how anti-climactic the whole thing was. Watching this film, it was touching to see my experience mirrored back at me."

I think we need to start a See It With Your Sister campaign, pronto!

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3adb6ae4af129bdcbd30348211f44554Over at Policy Mic, we got another shout-out in a story called 17 Lies We Need to Stop Teaching Girls About Sex, with tackles everything from virginity and hymen myths to period sex to women who watch porn (and illustrated by Ms Ilana Glazer) It warms my mythbusting heart that this exists, so I was pretty shocked at the vehemence with with people were challenging it in the comments.

One of the biggest points of contention was myth #1 "Virginity exists" and hoo boy did people have problems with that one! There were several comments to the effect of 'virginity does too exist and it's real and everyone knows what it is.' Well, everyone does NOT know what it is, and in fact the lack of any concrete definition is what's confused and terrorized women forever (the simple fact that many women don't bleed on penetration has done untold damage)

But for the record, we do think virginity exists, just not in the 'one-magic-moment-when-the-penis-goes-into-the-vagina" way. It exists in many forms, with each new experience and new partner. What doesn't and shouldn't exist is one specific virginity that's used to categorize, judge and police people (mostly women) based on their sexual choices. That's bullshit. And truth be told, that's pretty much what Policy Mic was saying as well, it's just that heading that got people so out of joint.

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Jaclyn Friedman wrote a rather chilling but important article on a new way to select colleges– check the campus rape statistics:

Those precious few who ask at all tend to check a school's reporting numbers, assuming that a low rate of rapes reported on a campus is a good sign. But most of the time the reverse is true: every campus has a rape problem – the ones where students feel comfortable reporting are actually safer campuses.

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Virginity auctioneer Elizabeth Raine, who I wrote about here and here, has decided to show people what she looks like. She was initially concerned about getting kicked out of her med school if people found out who she was, but now says: "I actually didn't like the anonymity. People mistake it for shame." Her top official bid is $550,000 and her auction ends May 7th.You can see more photos and learn more about her at her site.

I really enjoyed deconstructing virginity myths with Liz in our Nerve.com interview, and I hope this whole process doesn't fuck her up. I don't mean because of the sex (although I hope that goes OK as well), but because of the crude attention and News of the Weird nature of virginity auctions.

 

Found some Virginity in the News? Be a Just The Tipster and let us know! Email us, or post to twitter with @virginitymovie in your message.

 

Just The Tip! Virginity in the News about lab-grown vaginas, more rape culture, selling virgins, dirty toothbrushes and something funny.

lab-rezSo, this is cool: Scientists are growing vaginas in a lab made from patients' vulvar tissue. This is a big deal for women with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, a rare genetic condition in which the vagina and uterus either underdevelop or fail to develop at all. It's so far been tested on four teenagers, ages 13 to 18 at the time of their surgery, and all are now reporting full function and good sexual sensation. Although the article doesn't mention it, I wonder how this could work for trans women,  who would presumably need to get donated starter cells. Cory Silverberg explains some of the fascinating science here.

I was particularly interested in this because of a really great V-Card Diaries submission we received a while back from Erinn, who has MRKH, and wrote about rethinking her definition of virginity loss if she had no vagina.

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AURape

Rape Culture grows right out of Virginity Culture, which gives women no sexual autonomy, sees their bodies as the property of men, but also tells them they are responsible for any sexual activity directed at them, including sexual assault.

The latest Rape Culture scandal erupted at American University with the release of emails between member of psuedo-frat Epsilon Iota. Click through for some of the 70 conversations reported by Erin Gloria Ryan at Jezebel, but please consider it completely covered with trigger warnings. The unrelenting tidal wave of casual talk about raping 'bitches' at our colleges is sickening and overwhelming. What the f**k is wrong with these guys????

It's hard to be a dedicated rape-culture denier when shit like this pops up on such a regular basis. And yet they're out full force telling The Fratergate AU that they're picking on poor innocent frat boys. The curators of this blog are trying to force AU to deal with the situation and take disciplinary action against the frat. They're doing a good job remaining calm in the face of all the frat-boys-will-be-frat-boys commentary.

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Cambodia - Selling daughter's virginity

In other depressing news (with more trigger warnings), Cambodia's 'Virginity' trade is what happens when extreme poverty, male power and myths about virgins collide. Marie Claire wrote about the deeply disturbing reality of parents selling their young daughters to brothels due to economic hardship, something happening all over Asia.

"The virgin trade thrives partly due to a cultural myth. "Many older Asian men believe sex with virgins gives them magical powers to stay young and prevent illness," she explains. "There is an endless number of destitute families for the trade to prey on, and the rule of law is very weak." Human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and the buying and selling of sex are illegal in Cambodia. However, because of official corruption and substandard police resources, no one has ever been convicted of purchasing virgins in Cambodia's courts."

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The Atlantic wrote a story about later-life virginity loss. I'm glad 'older virginity' is being discussed, but it still focused too much on one P-in-V moment instead of a pretty long and diverse process of becoming sexual. Not counting anything before intercourse is really narrow, especially because it's not the way lots of people have sex. But it's so hard to change deeply-ingrained ideas about what 'counts.' Also most of the subjects were religious, furthering that older-virgin myth as well.

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What do Peppermint Patties have to do with abstinence?In our film, Shelby Knox talks about her pastor's abstinence classes and being told having sex before marriage makes you a dirty toothbrush (prospective husbands supposedly wanting their toothbrushes, and vaginas, sealed in their orginial packaging.) Amanda Hess writes about the flawed internal logic of this handy Abstinence Parlor Trick of comparing a girl's sexuality to all sorts of chewed-up things:

Passing around a piece of chocolate is an evocative image, but it doesn’t ultimately make much sense as a sexual metaphor. Sure, nobody wants to eat a dirty piece of candy, but why is anyone passing around an unwrapped chocolate anyway? You just eat it, and then it’s gone, so I’m not sure what the problem is.

And clean toothbrushes are great, but do you really want to use that same toothbrush for the rest of your life? Doctors recommend replacing it every three to four months. And about that pristine stick of gum we keep hearing about: If having sex with a woman leaves her like a chewed-up gob of polymer, why would you ever want to have sex with a woman more than one time, ever? Much less marry her? Marriage sounds disgusting!

Sexist, unscientific and scare-mongering curriculums of this kind have been adopted by 60% of Mississippi schools.

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For some much-needed comic relief and palate-cleansing, watch this really funny monologue by Julia Sweeney about talking to her young daughter about sex.

 

 

I challenged virginity auctioner Elizabeth Raine on the validity of virginity testing and something amazing happened

Last week, I did an interview with Elizabeth Raine, the American woman who is offering her 'virginity' for auction. I enjoyed talking to her about the myths inherent in these kinds of auctions: placing value on a social construct, the fact that what's really being auctioned is 'first penis in,' and the enduring and dangerous myth of the hymen's relationship to a woman's sexual history.

In fact, I called her out her claim that she could prove her virginity through a test. She responded by doing something amazing. She wrote a post on her blog that included the following lines:

Even among virgins, the doctor cannot always prove virginity.

The absence of an “intact” hymen never proves the absence of virginity.

And many virgins do not bleed or even feel discomfort at first penetration.

And then this statement at the end:

If you are someone who is disappointed by this news, I am so very sorry (yes, that was sarcasm). I am aware that some people want to know with certainty whether or not our young women are virgins, but whoever once said “you can’t always get what you want” was really onto something. So, instead, why don’t we stop terrorizing these girls unnecessarily – it is the height of unreasonable to dictate a bride bleed on her wedding night or pass a gynecological examination (for a virgin whore, it is a bit more reasonable). And if you are someone who would punish a woman for not doing so, then you are a big part of what is wrong with this world. And I would suggest you change yourself, a lot, immediately. You might begin by getting your facts straight on hymens.

I have some issues with her assertion that in her case it can be proven, but volunteering for exams and lie detector tests seems to be a standard component of Virginity Auction Theater at this point. Having said that, I really appreciated her doing some outreach/education for the benefit of misguided (and worse) people who still think hymens have anything to do with anything (checking a guy's testicles will give you just as much information on his history...none).

Her bidding opened today, complete with extensive terms and conditions (including not penetrating the anus of the Virgin, or treating her violently). So for those people so in thrall of the virgin/whore dichotomy that they place a premium on 'first penis in' and want to pay someone for it, she awaits your bids.

An interview with Elizabeth Raine, America's latest virginity auctioner

Raine
Raine

I just did an interview for Nerve.com with 27-year-old American medical student Elizabeth Raine, who is putting her "virginity" up for auction on April 1st. Readers of this blog know I've been following this phenomenon for years, and like every other woman doing this kind of thing, she's getting a lot of sleazy, breathless tabloid coverage. I was glad to learn a bit more about her, and to talk to her about how virginity auctions affect how we value women for their sexual status, and how they perpetuate virginity myths and stereotypes.

As I say in the intro, I talked to Liz about the kind of guy who’d pay good money to be the “first penis in,” why you can’t prove a woman isn't a virgin, and how to negotiate boundaries when your first sexual experience is with a total stranger. Here's a short excerpt where we get into some of the issues, but please read the whole thing at Nerve.

Which brings me to the question of what “virginity” means to you. What are you auctioning? I think losing virginity is having heterosexual intercourse for the first time. If you are referring to another type of intercourse it needs to be clarified, for instance “I lost my oral virginity.”

So what do you think the appeal or fascination is for a guy? What do you think they think they’re buying? For some reason or another it is a sexual fantasy [to have a virgin]. In some cases, I think they want to take on the role of sexual teacher. In others, they just want to try something new. And then there are some men who are just attracted to the idea of an untouched woman.

I always assumed it was the desire for “first penis in” like planting your flag on uncharted territory or something.  Men are very competitive and territorial creatures.

I sometimes think that if men are stupid enough to pay for a social construct, let them. I can't disagree with that.

I really hate the mythology virginity auctions perpetuate. As long as there hasn't been a penis inside a woman, she and her body have value. But once that happens, she has none. No one auctions off the second time they have intercourse.  Well that's not necessarily true, women with all levels of sexual experience are selling sex somewhere. I'm not saying that makes it right, but I do think it is more of a continuum than you think. Men preferring less 'promiscuous' women is not a phenomenon limited to virgins.

They are, but adding the #virginity seems to increase the value exponentially. I'm not sure Natalie would have gotten much interest if she had already had intercourse and was offering the second time to a lucky bidder. Do you? I agree the value is inflated. Here is one more idea: The first time is a mystery. So, being in the position of the virgin, if you are going to lose it under these circumstances, it should pay well.

True Story: "We were WhatsYourPrice sugarbabies"

PriceFemale PriceMale

Judy P. is an art history student at Brown University who is interested in the intersections of art, politics, race, class, and gender. Check out her other posts here.

My good friends Marilyn and Sarah*, two intelligent, charming self-described feminists, were sugar babies while studying in London last year. Most of y'all probably know what sugar daddies are, right? Well, sugar babies are their counterparts–young, attractive ladies who are financially cared for in exchange for their companionship, and sometimes, sexual favors. I'm actually the one who got them hooked when I mentioned that I knew girls who joined websites like Seeking Arrangements and What's Your Price to fund their collegiate expenses, i.e. textbooks and student debt.

Many escort services offer this kind of exchange–youth and good looks for bucks, but what distinguishes this particular deal is that it's so accessible, mediated by free, no-strings-attached websites. Users send a 'wink' or message, get a conversation going, offer and accept a 'bid' for a date, then meet up. It's like registering for OKCupid, except that at the end of the date, if there's a sexual proposition, it comes with the offer of a bonus paycheck (but sexual favors definitely are not obligatory). In a culture that routinely puts a value on young women's bodies, I wondered what it was like to capitalize on that value. Was it easy money? I asked Marilyn and Sarah about their experiences:

Judy: How is whatsyourprice different from typical escort sites?

Sarah: It doesn't explicitly sell sex for starters. You're just selling a first date. That's the only commitment.

Marilyn: But it does explicitly sell youth and beauty. The women are referred to as "beautiful individuals" and the men as "generous individuals." The women are all in their 20s and poor, the men are all older and successful.

Judy: Do you think auctioning your beauty and youth is similar to auctioning female virginity? Like, what is a woman's value?

Marilyn: It's really clear for me at least with this site that women are commodities. You can sample them, you can buy them in different sizes and shapes. They're not treated like humans. It's this hegemony over women's bodies, this conquest thing.

Sarah: And this power dynamic is established with money.

Judy: Is there a chastity category on this site?

Sarah: No chastity category. There's a physical profile: height, weight, hair color, eye color. It asks if you're married or single, and what you are seeking. There's one obvious option that's “Mutually Beneficial/ Sugar Baby,” but there are also some surprising ones like, "Long term Relationship/ Marriage Minded" and "Married Dating/ Discreet Affair."

Judy: This is kind of an obvious question, but what was the motivating factor for joining this website?

Marilyn: Money. It was an easy way to make money, and I really needed it at the time. We were both just so broke.

Sarah: Both of our loans ran out, and London is an expensive city. I jumped the gun and had all these dates lined up on whatsyourprice.com. I was so nervous the first time I went. I thought it was a scam. But I came back from a nice cocktail bar, like so expensive, neither of us could have ever afforded to set foot in there.

Judy: What was the dude like?

Sarah: He was very charming and worldly, but also secretive. I felt like a whore the entire time. I knew everyone was looking at me like I was a whore. Never heard from him again, but he owned this huge chocolate brand in London or something.

Marilyn: A lot of rich guys were using whatsyourprice.com in London. It's the financial capital of the world, so many guys trying to lead a double life, men coming from Paris, New York City...

Judy: How was your first date, Marilyn?

Marilyn: I think it was that rich 65-year-old French financier who lived part-time in Paris, part-time in London. Wife in Paris, he told me. We met at the British Museum three different times, and he'd give me a guided tour that he had prepared in writing. It was all very redundant, and he'd pretty much prepare the same routine for each date. He even took Sarah out on a date and pulled the same moves.

Sarah: That guy was a character! He probably dated every girl on the website.

Judy: Did he ask you to fuck?

Marilyn: Yeah.

Judy: How did he ask?

Marilyn: “Do you want to...you know?” He couldn't just spit it out.

Judy: Did most of the guys ask you to sleep with them?

Marilyn: Every guy I went on a date with eventually asked me to fuck. One guy that Sarah and I went on a “double” date with to London Fashion Week invited us back to his place after such a cool, crazy night. He told us, “Models are sugar babies off-season. You guys get all your stuff paid for, totally taken care of”...if you just give in, basically. He asked us to fly to Italy with him the next day to go to his villa for a weekend and fuck.

Sarah: I was definitely thinking about doing it.

Judy: Would you have fucked him if he took you to Italy?

Sarah: Yeah, honestly.

Judy: Did you ever enjoy it?

Marilyn: We both got a thrill out of it, of course.

Sarah: I was thinking, “I'm going out with these older, wealthy men. They want me, and I have them hanging on a string.”

Judy: I think you both feel a little ambivalent about this whole thing, like half of you loved the experience, and the other half just felt repulsed by it.

Sarah: It was definitely foreign and exciting, and there was a power dynamic both sides were playing. I would try to entice them to keep them interested, so they would want a second date and I could get more money. But I couldn't entice them to the point that they thought I wanted to sleep with them. It was a fine line. Then I'd feel used afterwards, yes. Because you're literally holding money you earned through ways society deems "dirty."

Marilyn: It's a paradox. Women are backed into a corner where we're made sexual objects. Then, when you try and use the cards you've been dealt (blonde and busty), you're told by society that you're a tramp. So I thought I was rebelling against the system: going to The London School of Economics by day, being a smarty, and using my sexuality, which society constructed, to pay the bills. But then, when they started asking for sex, and I actually considered it, that was when I felt dirty, it felt wrong. Plus, I had to keep it a secret from my friends, and no one wants to do that.

Sarah: Yeah, but not all of these guys were perverts. I started really liking one. I think between me and Marilyn, I definitely had more fun with the dates. I'm adventurous, I'm wild, and I think it was a nice change from all those dumb, young college boys. These guys would take me out on fancy dates…

Marilyn: There was one guy who offered to pay me 2,000 pounds ($3,013) a month to have sex with him three times a month. I said, "Let me just think about this for a week." That week, every 40-year-old man or older I saw just disgusted me. And this guy, Andrew was his name, had a daughter who was 16. I was 20 when I was going on these dates. I was just so weirded out by it all. I declined his offer when I came to my senses, even though he constantly harassed me with emails.

Judy: How much did you get paid for each date?

Marilyn: 50 to 100 pounds ($75-$151). I got paid 150 pounds ($227) on one date.

Sarah: Same range, but girls can definitely make a lot more on there.

Judy: What were your online profiles like?

Marilyn: I tried to go with an angle of confidence, also intellectual. I'm young, I look good walking into a room. I used a blurred profile picture for anonymity. People wouldn't be able to recognize me, but they'd see that I'm a busty blonde.

Sarah: Most girls try to be sweet, the girl-next-door type. The guys, for the most part, have awkward profiles. They just didn't know what to say. This is in London though, keep in mind. I don't know what it'd be like in the States...probably pretty similar.

Judy: Okay, so you described yourself as a "busty blonde," and you're definitely attractive by society's standards. Can you describe yourself as well, Sarah? Like, why do you think these men found both of you so enticing?

Sarah: I'm thin, long red hair, pretty busty myself. You know, I'm pretty by society's standards for sure. I also studied art, so I could keep up with the "classy" conversations.

Marilyn: Yeah, they would actually tell us they liked us because we weren't "Eastern European prostitutes." Like, they were surprised we weren't some beat chicks that couldn't speak English.

Judy: So they did care about your brains?

Marilyn: I think they were very pleasantly surprised that we weren't only young and pretty, but could have real conversations as well. They were looking to fall in love, half of them. The other half, yes, were just looking for hot little things to bang.

Judy: So how'd you feel about your overall experience, and given these experiences,  would you do it again? 

Marilyn: You just feel so used after a while and impure. There is a sense of purity that's lost when you commodify yourself. If you sleep with too many people, too–at least for me. It's this Catholic guilt thing…I'd only ever do it again if I got desperate, which might be sooner rather than later. I have a lot of student loans to pay off.

Sarah: I can use my body and charms sexually and entice men to buy me dinner and pay for drinks and pay me to just accompany them. It was simultaneously empowering and disempowering--that I could have so much power over these dudes just with my looks and enthusiasm, but ultimately, they're the ones with the wad of cash who see me as a piece of meat. But I would probably do it again. I mean, it's just so lucrative!

*My friends' names have been changed, and that's not them or their escorts in the photos.

Via The A.V. Club: 13 songs about losing your virginity (and one they missed)

A couple of days ago, The A.V. Club posted an article on songs that reference sexual first times. I'm one of those embarrassing humans that's terrible at deciphering/actually listening to lyrics (famously ruining every sing-a-long ever), so a few of these were surprises for me. Most notably Vanessa Carlton's "White Houses," which I so very often screamed along to during lonely car rides.

Any thoughts on songs they missed? For starters, "December, 1963 (Oh What A Night)" by  Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons.

Ask Trixie: How is auctioning virginity legal?

How was auctioning virginity legal, and what was used to auction it? There's many stories of women auctioning their virginity, through places like The Bunny Ranch, but what was the actual platform used to auction this off? Ebay? And how was this not illegal? I'm just really curious and can't seem to find the answer anywhere. –Jaime

Hi Jaime! Thanks for writing.

On the most basic level, when a man or woman auctions off their virginity, he or she is offering sex in exchange for money. So in places where prostitution is legal, like Nevada (where The Bunny Ranch, a brothel, represented Natalie Dylan), they aren't breaking any laws.

Now, we can get into a long discussion about what 'auctioning virginity' means, even what 'virginity' means, and why a guy would pay a lot of money to be the first person to put his penis into someone's vagina, for example. But that's another post. Sometimes women (and it's almost always women) do this kind of transaction to make some money, sometimes they say it's for college or to pay medical bills, but sometimes they are being exploited by others, and it's not always clear what the truth is. One of the first auctions I ever heard of was Rosie Reid in the UK, and although it was totally consensual, she was apparently quite traumatized by it.

Some auctioners have started with posts on EBay or Craig's List, but those get shut down pretty quickly, and the bidding takes place through a brothel, porn site or some other third party. That was the case with Natalie Dylan and The Bunny Ranch, which was also going to be where the sex would take place (that deal never actually happened, but many others have).

We have a lot of virginity auctions stories archived here if you want to learn more.

Got a question about virginity, sex, relationships, feminism or filmmaking?  Ask Trixie here

Just the Tip: Virginity in the News

A roundup of the latest virginity happenings:

The movie The Sessions opens this week. It's the true story of disabled, 38-year-old writer (John Hawkes) and the sex therapist (Helen Hunt) he hires to help him experience his first intercourse. It was a huge hit at Sundance (as 'The Surrogate") and we can't wait to see it. Another similar true-life account here.

 

The Mail Online reports that "Psychologists discovered that those who have sex after they turn 20 are more likely to have happy relationships" Please repeat the phrase "correlation, not causation" ten times before diving into this dubious and confusing story. And enjoy the racy stock photos.

 

The CB-6000 Male Chastity Device is selling like crazy. This is apparently a thing. Might be because they come in Cammo? NSFW!

Replace that image with a very cute New Yorker cartoon, totally SFW.

 

The Virgin Mary was sighted in a New Jersey car wash by attendant Alex Leiva who reported flashing lights and a cloud of smoke, after which the outline of Mary carrying baby Jesus formed in the window of the car wash tunnel.

This also happened in a Georgia car wash a few years ago.

Thanks to our JustTheTipsters @j_a_allan , @SmoothRage, @dallasnovelty and @PeterXBoyd. Got a news tip? Send it to @trixiefilms or use our contact page.

 

V-Card Diaries: Claire "I never intended to stay a virgin for so long, so I'm hiring an escort for the night."

Today we're highlighting Claire, a 30-year-old woman from Sydney, Australia, who's ready to take some extreme actions to shed her virginity. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. Tell us about yourself:  

My name is Claire. I'm 30 (about to be 31), female, and I live in Sydney, Australia.

How do you define virginity? 

When I learned about sex, I was taught it was between a man and a woman and centered around vaginal penetration.  I was 16 before I realized that there was an option other than heterosexual–talk about sheltered. Even though there must be other definitions, I can't stop thinking of a virgin as someone who has never had a penis in their vagina (or of course put their penis in someone’s vagina).

Tell us your story:

I never intended to stay a virgin for so long.  There was no decision, no religious grounds, no anything else; in some ways it would be easier if there was/had been. I've been 'large' for most of my life and it's taken me a long time to feel OK with that.  I never understood why someone would find me attractive, so when asked on a date I would assume they were desperate, dared or insane, none of which appealed to me so I would always say no. In a way, I stayed a virgin only because I never let anyone close enough to form a relationship where I'd want to have sex with them.

I didn't really think about my virginity one way another until about 24 when almost overnight I developed this feeling that I had 'missed the boat.'  Suddenly it went from something I didn't even think about to a source of shame.  I always thought 'how do you explain to someone that you want to wait longer because it's your first time?' Most of my friends thought nothing of casual sex, and I felt so different to them. In the end I decided that I didn't care; I wasn't going to let being a virgin define who I am or how I live my life.  But at 30 (almost 31) everyone around me is getting married and/or having children and I've still never had sex.  In a lot of ways I just want it done, I wish I'd just had a one night stand years ago.

So I decided I needed a plan, I'm NOT making it to 31!  I've been trying everything from dating sites to 'adult-dating' sites. It hasn't been working so I'm hiring an escort for a night.  I haven't chosen one yet, still trawling through the hundreds of them out there, my cut off for deciding is the end of September.

Some will criticize, but I'm comfortable with this choice. My first time will be with someone who knows what they're doing, and who's probably heard it all before.

Justin Sisley's 'virginity auction' reality show is still moving forward and still gross

UPDATE (10/24/2012):Catarina Migliorini has sold her "virginity" to a Japanese man named "Natsu" for $780,000. Her male counterpart, Alex Stepanov, has sold his "virginity" for $3,000 to a Brazilian woman named "Nene B". UPDATE: Justin Sisley's virginity auction reality show has resurfaced with slightly altered plans that have received amazing amounts of publicity. The deflorations will allegedly take place on an airplane flying between Australia and the US. And one of his subjects, Catarina Migliorini, is saying she'll use the proceeds of her auction to help build homes for the poor in her native Brazil, currently at $160,000. Not much mention of the male virgin because, you know, they're just not as sexy. I hate writing about this shit - it's exploitation and people are eating it up.

This original post was written in 2010:

Over a year ago I wrote about Justin Sisely, an Australian filmmaker who was "auditioning" for virgins to auction them off and then film the process for a documentary. Sadly, there are virginity auctions happening all the time all over the world, but Sisely was especially interesting because:

a)He claimed he was merely an artist "exploring the idea of virginity as a commodity.” He sounded more like, I don't know, a pimp.

b)He attempted to fashion a legal definition of virginity for his contract, something even the medical establishment has never done (because it doesn't exist)

c) He got death threats for advertising his 'auditions' with a photo of the Virgin Mary with male genitalia on her forehead. So, sexual exploitation is apparently fine, but not if you're going to mess with the Holy Mother.

d) He admitted he was asking his subjects to prostitute themselves, but actually going through with the deflowering was not required – a small fact that might put a damper on the bidding - and any interest in actually seeing the film. Not that I'm giving him advice on how to to be a good pimp/pornographer, I'm just saying...

Fast forward one year:

Justin Sisely's just announced he'll be bringing three Australian teens to a Nevada brothel to carry out his virginity auction project. [see update above] After a year of virgin "auditions" in Sydney, and he says he's recruited two men and one woman,but needs to move the operation out of Australia as he's been advised by the local authorities that prostitution is against the law Down Under (who knew?).

And though you're allowed to sell your body in the state of Nevada (provided you pass a health check, get a license, and work for a properly registered brothel), persuading someone to cross a state line for the purpose of prostitution is explicitly prohibited by the colorfully named "White Slave Act" of 1910 (also known as the Mann Act). Sisely's project could earn him 10 years in the slammer for each person (virgin or not) that he spirits to Nevada for his auction. Some media outlets are taking Sisely's press releases at face value, but the Las Vegas Sun has a more thoughtful take, where they point out the Mann Act problem, as well as the unlikelyhood of Sisely being able to successfully auction off a male virgin (apparently there were no registered male prostitutes in Nevada until January 2010, and it's not exactly a booming business).

So what the hell is Sisely about? His claims that he's examining virginity in any thoughtful in-depth way is laughable and insulting to people who actually spend time thinking about these issues. Will he be asking his auctionees their thoughts about the value of virginity in today's society as they're getting their share of the take? Is he just seeking publicity and sponsorship to advance his career, even though he's stooping to the level of a human trafficker? And - why does the word "virginity" and the titillating prospect of selling it to the highest bidder so easily catch the media's fancy? It's totally infuriating.

Just the other day, an Australian media outlet contacted us at Trixie Films to book an interview with Sisely, thinking that his film was our film. This pretty much put me over the edge. I told them that although we too were exploring virginity in the 21st century, we weren't actually exploiting our subjects to do it. But if we did decide to exploit some virgins, would they cover our project, too? The Australian media folks were actually pretty understanding, but it didn't make me any less angry at what this creep was doing.

If you're also angry about how the mainstream press has showered attention on Sisely's exploitative project, there's something you can do about it - Team Trixie's feminist-inspired "How To Lose Your Virginity" documentary, coming out in 2013, is always happy for your support! Self-serving? You betcha! But we need some other video voices out there to critique the hell out of his shit. And, we promise that no virgins will be harmed in the making of this film.

[Older Virgin Week] Should a woman hire a sex worker to lose her virginity?

Cable has Shark Week, we have Older Virgin Week! In honor of V-Day, by which we mean Virgin Day, all this week we’re reposting some of our favorite older-virginity-related stories. This post originally ran in January 2011. Share your biggest older virgin myths here.

"I have never met a woman who raved about the experience of losing her virginity. Perhaps that's partly reticence, but from the stories that I have been told, for most women, losing their virginity was awkward, painful, a total non-event, ruined by their partner's excitement and inexperience, or some combination of those things. Which, to me as an escort (whose job is making sex and sexuality fun and enjoyable) is a shame."

That's John, an Australia-based escort, talking about why women might seek out a male sex worker  for first-time intercourse.

Young men losing their virginity with female sex workers is a standard narrative trope, and in some cultures a celebrated rite of passage. Nevada's Moonlight Bunny Ranch, a brothel which calls itself the 'devirginizing capital of the world' isn't talking about virgin women (except for Natalie Dylan, the one notorious, if unconsummated, exception). And aside from the rom-com The Wedding Date, where the escort isn't even hired for sex, women hiring male sex workers remains a very taboo subject.

Given all that, we wanted to know more about why John, whose clients are usually sexually experienced women and couples, started reaching out to a new potential group:

First, we'd love to know how you define 'losing your virginity,' since it's sort of a hazy thing.

I will admit to being a bit "conventional" there. For me, losing your virginity (for a heterosexual couple) means penis-in-vagina sex. Why? Probably mostly because that is what I learned as I grew up. But also because to me it is the most intimate act possible between two people.

Everything else - while just as or even more enjoyable - is "foreplay", or an extension of sex to me, but when you get right down to it, penetrating, or being penetrated by another person (especially-face-to face) is as intimate a connection as you can make with another person. That may be one reason why rape is so devastating, because it perverts and abuses that intimacy and connection.

Why do you think women might need or choose to go this route, sexually?

I don't know if this is something that is "needed" as such (like food, or water are "needed"), but it fills a gap caused by the nature of our society.

No woman should feel that hiring an escort is the only option for them. But because of the problems caused by things like religion and the emotional immaturity of most of our society this is unfortunately how some women do end up feeling. I would be happier if that wasn't the case and men and women were able to treat each other with respect. Because this isn't always the case, there is an opportunity for me to help these women.

Do you think demand is growing?

Yes I think so. It is a result of two things: 1. our generally more relaxed social attitudes to sexuality, and 2. our ability to communicate with more people more easily.

Women who are virgins can hear about the idea of employing a male escort more easily, they can find and participate in positive discussions on the issue more easily, and ultimately they can connect with male escorts like myself more easily (and with complete anonymity).

That wasn't possible prior to the Internet and given that people are more open minded about sexuality, it leads to more interest and perhaps more demand. You could also view this issue as a consequence of women taking more control over their sexuality. As a result some are choosing to employ a male escort for their first-time sex.

How do you think women differ from men in terms of the experience they're looking for?

Since I am a straight (heterosexual) male escort, I can only speculate on that question. Being male though and knowing other men I would say that the difference is significant. Most men (I think) don't see any inherent value in being virgins, we are just interested in having sex. So losing my virginity was a milestone, but I didn't see it as a "gift" or something that a woman would actually value.

As mentioned on my website though, I was lucky enough to meet a woman who made losing my virginity a very memorable experience. It could have been much less enjoyable for me, but that wouldn't have made me any less eager to actually do it.

By contrast, my experience with women considering losing their virginity with me is that there tends to be more emotion invested in this experience than there was for me when I lost mine. However every woman that I talk to about losing their virginity is different in what they think and feel. Some don't care much about it and want to lose it and get on with life. Others are worried about having a bad experience, so are looking for someone who understands and will put their needs first. Then there are the women (often older) who find it hard to establish relationships with men (let alone have sex). For them virginity, emotions, self image, and doubt all seem to get tangled up together, which makes things very hard for them. The second and third groups are the ones I have most experience with personally.

The third group are the women who seem to get the least support in our societies. That is why I like the work that people like you and The Accidental Virgin are doing. I try to support that effort by being available for women to talk to about losing their virginity (be it with an escort like me, or any other man). So the difference, in my opinion, mostly comes down to the emotional content of the experience of first-time penetrative sex. It "matters more" emotionally to women than to men. So it's not surprising that the majority of women don't have the glowing memories of losing their virginity that I do.

How about the differences between men and women in terms of social taboos?

The social taboos are probably too numerous to list here, but women seeking a male escort to lose their virginity with just adds one more opportunity for narrow minded and manipulative people to stigmatise women. Which is ironic perhaps, given that the service that I offer is meant to help these women to overcome the shortcomings of our society in the first place. Thankfully though many women seem to be supportive of a friend who is considering employing a male escort.

A surprising twist on this issue is that I have been told by a father once that he would much rather his daughter lost her virginity to me (an escort who will actually try to make it a good first experience of sex), than to some random man (with all of the uncertainty that implies). Fathers may have (rightly, or wrongly) even more emotion invested in their daughter's welfare and virginity than their daughters do, so maybe that shouldn't be surprising.

The Sundance Diaries, Part 3: Beasts, Imposters and Surrogates

Quvenzhane Wallis in 'Beasts of the Southern Wild"

We interrupt our regularily scheduled coverage of virginity to bring you this special dispatch: I’ve been going to, and writing about, my experiences at the Sundance Film Festival many of the last 11 years. This is part 3 of 3 of this year’s Sundance Diaries. Read Part 1 here. Read Part 2 here.

If you want some background entertainment, you can read Sundance Diaries archived from 2001 to 2008  here. The 2010 Diaries are here, here, here and here.

Sundance is over.

The Brita™ water filter tent is coming down, the giant fog machine and bean bag installation is being removed from New Frontiers, and the jacked-up-price menus have been put away until next January. As I scrub my re-entry stamps off my hands and moisturize like crazy, I wanted to answer a bunch of questions that you, my loyal readers, have sent in.

Is it still hard to get drunk in Park City? [H.T.] If you mean are they still measuring shots out with those weird Mormon bottle toppers so as not exceed exactly one ounce per pour, then yes. But it's only hard to get drunk if you're actually paying for those drinks. When they're free, thanks to whatever liquor sponsor is working the party, you can belly up for two shots at a time as long as you're standing. My drink of choice this year was whiskey mixed with hot lemonade or hot apple cider, introduced to me in bulk at a party sponsored by some delicious whiskey. The fact that I have no idea what brand it was means the promotion failed miserably: Don't expect drunk film people to remember what your label said in a dark party late at night. Give us complimentary bottles to take home.

Please find some non AIDS/Sexual Abuse/Anti-Gay [films] to share! Hopefully not centered on 30-something quirky white folk in the Northwest. [P. J.] Have I got two films for you!

"Beasts of the Southern Wild" is a dramatic feature about a little girl living on an island of magical realism in the Delta on "the other side of the levee." I can't say much more about this that will sound coherent, so suffice it to say it delivers epic floods, fantastical shacks, prehistoric aurochs that emerge from melted polar ice caps, and one little girl named Hush Puppy who just wants to spend time with her dad. It's the most wildly creative film I saw at the Festival this year and one of the most buzzworthy. Not a single quirky white single 30-something to be found. It just won the U.S. Dramatic Jury Award and it was totally worth standing in line for 1 1/2 hours to watch it the night before I left. It's headed for a theatrical release, but there's no telling whether a non-Sundance-movie-drunk audience will get as hyper-excited as we all did.

"The Imposter" tells the true story of a con artist who pretended to be a teenager who had gone missing from his working-class Texas family three years earlier. Even though he really didn't look anything like the kid, and spoke with a French accent, the family inexplicably welcomed him back as their long-lost son. Did they just not realize they were being conned? Or were they trying to hide an even bigger secret? The documentary mixes present-day interviews with all the players, along with dreamy, beautifully shot re-enactments of the bizarre events. So what really happened? Our guess, it turns out, is as good as the filmmakers' in the best examination of subjective truth since maybe Rashomon. A&E

Keep in mind that the movies one person can see at Sundance make up only the tip of their personal iceberg. There are amazing films I really wanted to see that my schedule didn't permit, and others I barely heard about until they won awards. Films like the standing-ovation-garnering documentary "Slavery By Another Name," the highly divisive feature film "Compliance," and a special screening of Julie Dash's 1991 film "Daughters of the Dust" all remained on my to-see list unchecked.

Another film high on my list, "The Surrogate," was super controversial going into the festival but emerged an audience favorite and won the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award. It's the true story of a poet confined to an iron lung and the sex surrogate he hires in order to have sex for the first time. Aside from my (ahem) professional interest in the storyline, I also heard over and over again how fabulous and sensitive the film and the performances were. It stars the astoundingly talented John Hawkes (Winter's Bone) and Helen Hunt (in need of a role worthy of her) and it should be a very interesting theatrical release!

Are Uggs still in???? [S.H.] I think it's gone from fashion trend to wardrobe staple, which is totally alarming. In terms of fashion trends, there was nothing as obvious as the lumberjack beards that made their unfortunate appearances in 2002. I did see a lot of vintage Sorrels and those giant tubes of knitted material people use as scarves. Both were actually rather cute. I know, I'm in a good mood. Sorry.

Just ‘cause YOU can’t be having no hot-tub shenanigans, would you deny us reportage on ANY hot-tub shenanigans?? I mean, you have created this devoted audience and now that you’re hitched, our needs just get cast aside along with your scandalous hot-tub ways?? Have we meant nothing to you? She gets the ring and now we’re bupkus... [A. M.] I am VERY worried about you!  Drinking Vodka and NOT BEING INTERESTED IN A HOT TUB is not like you!  I'm calling an intervention via Craig's List. [S. H.] Isn't it time to stop living vicariously through me and find your own hot tubs to jump into? Even my own husband is disappointed that I have no hot tub stories to share. In the words of the immortal William Shatner on Saturday Night Live: Get a life, people.

I am disappointed that you missed the Gene Simmons-Stan Lee event.  It would have ended up in the Hot Tub and you know it!  [Also from S. H., prolific question asker] True. Being part of a Lee/Simmons sandwich would have been tempting. Let's say a prayer of thanks I wasn't put into that situation.

And with that image seared on your eyeballs, I leave you until next year...Happy movie-going!

Should a woman hire a sex worker to lose her virginity?

"I have never met a woman who raved about the experience of losing her virginity. Perhaps that's partly reticence, but from the stories that I have been told, for most women, losing their virginity was awkward, painful, a total non-event, ruined by their partner's excitement and inexperience, or some combination of those things. Which, to me as an escort (whose job is making sex and sexuality fun and enjoyable) is a shame."

That's John, an Australia-based escort, talking about why women might seek out a male sex worker  for first-time intercourse.

Young men losing their virginity with female sex workers is a standard narrative trope, and in some cultures a celebrated rite of passage. Nevada's Moonlight Bunny Ranch, a brothel which calls itself the 'devirginizing capital of the world' isn't talking about virgin women (except for Natalie Dylan, the one notorious, if unconsummated, exception). And aside from the rom-com The Wedding Date, where the escort isn't even hired for sex, women hiring male sex workers remains a very taboo subject.

Given all that, we wanted to know more about why John, whose clients are usually sexually experienced women and couples, started reaching out to a new potential group:

First, we'd love to know how you define 'losing your virginity,' since it's sort of a hazy thing.

I will admit to being a bit "conventional" there. For me, losing your virginity (for a heterosexual couple) means penis-in-vagina sex. Why? Probably mostly because that is what I learned as I grew up. But also because to me it is the most intimate act possible between two people.

Everything else - while just as or even more enjoyable - is "foreplay", or an extension of sex to me, but when you get right down to it, penetrating, or being penetrated by another person (especially-face-to face) is as intimate a connection as you can make with another person. That may be one reason why rape is so devastating, because it perverts and abuses that intimacy and connection.

Why do you think women might need or choose to go this route, sexually?

I don't know if this is something that is "needed" as such (like food, or water are "needed"), but it fills a gap caused by the nature of our society.

No woman should feel that hiring an escort is the only option for them. But because of the problems caused by things like religion and the emotional immaturity of most of our society this is unfortunately how some women do end up feeling. I would be happier if that wasn't the case and men and women were able to treat each other with respect. Because this isn't always the case, there is an opportunity for me to help these women.

Do you think demand is growing?

Yes I think so. It is a result of two things: 1. our generally more relaxed social attitudes to sexuality, and 2. our ability to communicate with more people more easily.

Women who are virgins can hear about the idea of employing a male escort more easily, they can find and participate in positive discussions on the issue more easily, and ultimately they can connect with male escorts like myself more easily (and with complete anonymity).

That wasn't possible prior to the Internet and given that people are more open minded about sexuality, it leads to more interest and perhaps more demand. You could also view this issue as a consequence of women taking more control over their sexuality. As a result some are choosing to employ a male escort for their first-time sex.

How do you think women differ from men in terms of the experience they're looking for?

Since I am a straight (heterosexual) male escort, I can only speculate on that question. Being male though and knowing other men I would say that the difference is significant. Most men (I think) don't see any inherent value in being virgins, we are just interested in having sex. So losing my virginity was a milestone, but I didn't see it as a "gift" or something that a woman would actually value.

As mentioned on my website though, I was lucky enough to meet a woman who made losing my virginity a very memorable experience. It could have been much less enjoyable for me, but that wouldn't have made me any less eager to actually do it.

By contrast, my experience with women considering losing their virginity with me is that there tends to be more emotion invested in this experience than there was for me when I lost mine. However every woman that I talk to about losing their virginity is different in what they think and feel. Some don't care much about it and want to lose it and get on with life. Others are worried about having a bad experience, so are looking for someone who understands and will put their needs first. Then there are the women (often older) who find it hard to establish relationships with men (let alone have sex). For them virginity, emotions, self image, and doubt all seem to get tangled up together, which makes things very hard for them. The second and third groups are the ones I have most experience with personally.

The third group are the women who seem to get the least support in our societies. That is why I like the work that people like you and The Accidental Virgin are doing. I try to support that effort by being available for women to talk to about losing their virginity (be it with an escort like me, or any other man). So the difference, in my opinion, mostly comes down to the emotional content of the experience of first-time penetrative sex. It "matters more" emotionally to women than to men. So it's not surprising that the majority of women don't have the glowing memories of losing their virginity that I do.

How about the differences between men and women in terms of social taboos?

The social taboos are probably too numerous to list here, but women seeking a male escort to lose their virginity with just adds one more opportunity for narrow minded and manipulative people to stigmatise women. Which is ironic perhaps, given that the service that I offer is meant to help these women to overcome the shortcomings of our society in the first place. Thankfully though many women seem to be supportive of a friend who is considering employing a male escort.

A surprising twist on this issue is that I have been told by a father once that he would much rather his daughter lost her virginity to me (an escort who will actually try to make it a good first experience of sex), than to some random man (with all of the uncertainty that implies). Fathers may have (rightly, or wrongly) even more emotion invested in their daughter's welfare and virginity than their daughters do, so maybe that shouldn't be surprising.

Some highlights from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior

Researchers at Indiana University have just released the very large and very comprehensive National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB). With responses from 5,865 people ages 14 to 94, the survey asked about frequency of sex, types of partners, paying for sex and even how much pleasure or pain they got from sexual activity. The always-interesting Cory Silverberg at About:Sexuality spent the weekend with the report (bless his heart) is doing several posts on this gigantic study, the first of which includes some of the highlights (and the entire thread is here.) His posts explore both the good and questionable data, and he makes the point that some of this information has been known to health educators for a while now, but not to the general public.

Unfortunately, he hasn't done anything on age of first sexual experience or the number of non-sexually-active respondents, but that may come in later posts or papers. You can click here for a chart on different sexual activities by age. If you want to do your own research, you can download the first nine papers here.

Here are some of Cory's and our highlights:

Not all teenagers are the same. By collecting data from adolescents age 14 and up, the survey foregrounds the transition moment between the ages of 16-17 and 18-19, where teenagers show a huge leap in both kind and frequency of sexual activities. To offer one example, twice as many women between 18-19 report having had oral sex, vaginal intercourse, and anal sex as women who are 16-17. The data also let us see that condom rates also drop during this transition, in some groups by as much as 50% between the ages of 14-17 and 18-24.

53% of participants were with a romantic partner, 24% had a casual sex partner, and 9% had sex with a "new acquaintance"

Across age groups 6% of men and 30% of women reported some pain at their last sexual encounter. These percentages are striking both in terms of the sheer number of people they represent who are experiencing pain during sex, and the significant (but not surprising) gender discrepancy.

Overall 91% of men and 64% of women report having an orgasm at last sexual encounter. At the same time, 85% of men and 92% of women believed their partner had an orgasm the last time they had sex. These data can't be directly compared given the small group of people who have same sex partners, but the discrepancy, particular among men, is notable. Clearly more men think their partners are having orgasms than they are.

Read more at About:Sexuality.

UPDATE 2: Hungarian virginity auctioneer takes it to TV

Update Aug. 26: After turning down a bidder from the UK because he wanted to marry her, Miss Spring (as she calls herself) and re-launched her auction on Hungarian TV station Tabu.

While local prosecutors are trying to decide whether the station will face criminal charges for prostitution, Tabu reps are denying they are acting as Miss Spring's pimps–or at least rationalizing the fact that they kind of actually are:

"I do not feel like her pimp," said presenter Mate Kocka, who is arranging the auction. "Yes, I know, soliciting yourself is a crime in Hungary. But it's classified as a mild breach of the law, and its punishment is only 100 000 HUF (290 GBP). Miss Spring knows that too and I suppose she'll pay for it from the sale price," he added.

No word on what Tabu is getting out of this deal, or why one of the many people cashing in on this spectacle (including UK bookies) doesn't just come forward and give Miss Spring the money she needs.

Update Aug. 13: The young woman auctioning her virginity has apparently rejected the winning bidder because he wants to marry her, saying: "I broke off with the British guy because he wanted to go too far. I'm not looking for a husband - I'm doing this for my family."

Also she's 17, not 18 and has responded to her numerous critics with: "Since the media frenzy started, a lot of people have called me a martyr or a slut. I am neither. I am just a girl who wants to have a better future, who wants to take care of her family."

I'm starting to really like her.

Here's the original post:

Another virginity auction deal has reportedly been made, this one by an 18-year-old Hungarian woman seeking to pay off family debts. The final price was £200,000, made by a bidder in the UK.

Reports Metro UK, the bidding started on eBay but was shut down by the company. Still,

the girl was so desperate to be allowed to sell her virginity that after the bid was closed down on eBay she wrote to papers like the Huffington Post, The Telegraph and The Sun and to celebrities like Lady Gaga and Madonna, attracting enough attention that some of the original bidders were allowed to continue offering bids via email.

So, assuming this deal goes through and some idiot thinks it's worth $318,000 to be the first to put his penis inside her, she'll be able to take care of her family and possibly medical school. Happily, no word on requiring hymenal authentication, which is (say it with me) meaningless anyway. Also no word on testing the dude for every known STI. I sincerely hope this works out for her. Nevertheless, the total creepiness of these dudes overwhelms me:

"Both men wanted to marry me take care of me and my family. But for me this was supposed to be a one off thing. Getting married and living with someone is a challenge I am not sure I am yet ready for. However I would really like the opportunity to go to Britain or Ireland. So who knows."

Who are these guys? Ecchhh. More posts about virginity auctions in our collection, and they're all pretty depressing.

I think the real issue is: Why isn't college more affordable?

We write about virginity auctions a lot, but this is a first for us. There are a lot of different ways to lose your virginity and guys need money for school too, I guess. From a Craig's List Houston ad titled "Ass Virginity Auction":

Well I'm a straight male but I'm in need of money to pay for college this coming semester. I need a large amount so I guess the highest bidder gets to be the first and last to get my ass. Respond with the title of "auction" and your bid.

 

I'm assumed he was addressing his ad to men, but I guess that's pretty open to interpretation. I just sent him an email wondering how the bidding was going. Will keep you posted.

Letters from Johns: Men talk about losing their virginity to prostitutes

Letters from Johns was an online project created by Susannah Breslin, a journalist and blogger. Throughout 2008, Susannah posted letters from men discussing their experiences with prostitutes.

Included were letters from men who identified as virgins and used hired prostitutes to have sex for the first time. This issue has come up several times in our older virgin posts, so I asked Susannah if their letters were different from other johns. She said:

"I think they are mostly the same as regular johns, in that they used paid sex to resolve a situation that they felt unable to resolve otherwise."

Here are some excerpts:

Writer is 24 year old and has cerebral palsy:

…having sex with her (even if I had to pay for it) made up for a lifetime of rejection.

It was the most enjoyable experience I have ever had in my life […] For once I had gained control over my body, and it felt like I was in control of my life. The worst thing about having a physical disability is the lack of control I have in life.

Second, it was the first time I felt like I was being treated like a sexual being with desires and needs that were important. All my life I have been viewed as an asexual being whose desires should be avoided or neglected.

Writer is 30 years old and considering returning to a sex worker:

I couldn't do most of what I had in mind: couldn't undress her, couldn't kiss her, couldn't perform cunnilingus. She was also weirded out by my penis, I have a phimosis. Still, I was enjoying myself until she got on top of me. She immediately started to moan, and it hit me as incredibly fake. I lost my erection. We spent the rest of our time together lying on the bed, me holding her….

…For the next few weeks what I had done would hit me: sometimes it would make me happy, sometimes sad. Now it's just another memory.

Writer is a 29-year-old immigrant and sexual abuse survivor:

This was the first time I touched a woman in a sexual manner. I felt like a human being, and almost cried. We moved on to the bed, but she laughed at me. She positioned her body so that it was difficult for me to have intercourse and eventually she told me to stop when I began to do it with feeling…

…The experience was not pleasurable at all, but rather very nerve racking and riddled with guilt throughout the whole act. It was something to simply do it and get it out of the way, so that I would be just like other non-virgin men.

You can read all the letters here, as well as find links to her current project Letters from Men Who Watch Pornography, as well as Letters from Working Girls and Letters from Janes.

Big thanks to Chloe for this story!

*Thanks to Audacia Ray for pointing out that non-coerced sex workers are service workers, and are not being "used."